Paul Pogba is set to sign for one of either Real Madrid or Barcelona this summer, according to reports.
Spanish newspaper Marca have claimed that La Liga’s top two teams will battle it out for his signature and that they are the only two clubs who have a realistic chance of signing the French midfielder.
The article also makes it clear that Paris Saint-Germain are no longer an option, despite both their wealth and the option for Pogba to return to his home country. The player himself is reported to be more inclined to becoming another Galactico, but his agent is now working with Barcelona after talks with Real Madrid left both parties with a bitter taste in their mouths.
SPAIN’S GAIN, ENGLAND’S LOSS
Pogba’s talent has already once slipped through the fingers of the Premier League. His free transfer to Juventus from Manchester United even today baffles the mind of all football fans. With this latest revelation it seems once again that England will be starved of witnessing such a talent, with Chelsea and Manchester City, considered most likely to make a move for Pogba this summer, not even mentioned in the Marca report.
The age old debate of which is the best league often ends in a majority vote for the Premier League. However, with England’s top clubs not even in the reckoning to sign one of Europe’s top players, it seems the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona eclipses the ‘excitement’ and ‘anyone-can-beat-anyone’ factor so often heralded as English football’s hallmark attraction.
PREMIER LEAGUE LAGGING BEHIND
Luis Suarez, another fine talent, earned his name in England yet now finds himself playing for Barcelona. Neymar was once the hottest talent on the market, but the Brazilian too found his way to the Nou Camp despite there being plenty of potential suitors.
La Liga is also home to the best two players in the world. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have smashed nearly every record in existence and their choice to reside in Spain only further strengthens its claim to being one of Europe’s top leagues, if not ‘número uno’ itself.
You could argue the average quality of Spanish sides is inferior to the Premier League, and you may be right. However, what is certain is that in the face of La Liga’s best, even the Premier League’s finest find themselves in its shadow both on and off the football pitch.
Barcelona saw off Manchester City with ease in this season’s Champions League, whilst Chelsea and Arsenal fell victim to French sides. PSG’s bottomless pit of money has seen them become a top team, but with Arsenal failing to beat Monaco in the last 16, it seems that England’s top teams are struggling to compete against those considered to be weaker, let alone the titans of modern football.
It is perhaps this ever-widening gap that means even champions Chelsea do not stand a chance when it comes to competition for Europe’s highest honours, and its most valued players for that matter.
The disregard for English clubs’ potential to have any sort of say in where Pogba ends up this summer is an ominous sign that our league and the level of our football is no where near we imagine it to be.
Chelsea sauntered to the Premier League title, an occurrence we so often frown upon when it happens in Spain, Germany, or France. Also, as mentioned earlier, the Premier League’s showing in the Champions League this season was largely disappointing, if not on the verge of embarrassing.
Gone are the days when all English semi-finals were more likely than not, even expected. Gone too, it seems, is the league’s ability to attract Europe’s finest talents, or at least keep hold of them. Suarez departed for Barcelona and this year it is the turn of David de Gea, one of the world’s best goalkeepers, as he looks set to leave for Spain.
The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard are obvious examples that the Premier League can still attract and provide a good home for the world’s best. But, as we have seen in the past, rather than playing in England being the epitome of a player’s career, it now seems to have been reduced to a small stepping stone on the path to greater things.
A path which, according to Marca, Pogba is set to follow. One which has an all too familiar end, so often leading to Spain, with either Real Madrid or Barcelona waiting at its end, ready to swallow up any world class player who takes a trip down it.